Recently some great matchups at Welterweight for scheduled for the blockbuster UFC 158 card in Montreal, Quebec this March. Of course the headliner is the long-awaited grudge match between longtime 170 lb. champ Georges St-Pierre and the always-popular bad boy Nick Diaz. This is a fight that fans have been clamoring to see for what seems like years now, as Diaz’s well-known skipping of media events cost him his original shot at GSP in October 2011.
Now, the fight will happen, but if GSP’s recent statements have anything to do with the outcome, we could be seeing a repeat of UFC on Fox 5, where Lightweight champ Benson Henderson destroyed Diaz’s brother Nate:
“I watched very carefully your fight against Nate Diaz. It was a great display of athleticism, technique and wrestling. I’m going to try to use some of the stuff you have done in the fight to win over Nick Diaz as well. I’m going to learn from what you did and try to apply it in my game plan. Thanks for showing me the blueprint.”
After watching GSP destroy Condit a month ago at UFC 154, I think that all doubts surrounding his injured knee are squashed. He still possesses the power, athleticism, and wrestling skill to control any opponent at Welterweight for the most part. Amidst all the talk from Johny Hendricks, I actually do think that Hendricks is much worse of a matchup for St-Pierre in his second fight back. Diaz may have the better boxing of the two, but will he remain standing long enough to use it?
Also, Diaz will be coming off of a long layoff after his suspension for marijuana metabolites is expired. Fighting St-Pierre is a tall task to return to, as Diaz has never faced a wrestler of this caliber. GSP makes no bones about his intentions for the bout, and if Benson Henderson’s controlling, power-heavy gameplan is any indication, we may see a result similar to GSP-Condit here.
It may be true that Diaz’s BJJ is world-class, but it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen GSP be submitted and I just don’t see it happening here. Early odds have St-Pierre as a little over a 4-to-1 favorite in this bout, showing an overall doubt in Diaz’ chances. Nick Diaz is a scrapper who stalks his prey in the cage. However, unless his takedown defense becomes somehow other-wordly, a similar outcome to December 8th’s main event could be seen by fans in Montreal.